Both the Robert B. Lewis and the El Camino Real have shared entrants in Comma to The Top and Anthony's Cross. Comma To The Top's connections said that they are leaning towards the El Camino Real Derby, and his work on Sunday (2/6) going a bullet 5 furlongs in 59.4 at Hollywood Park, the best of 34 works at the distance. Anthony's Cross, who ran third in the Sham, worked smartly since the race, finishing up his preparations on Sunday with a 5 furlong work going 59.60, (2nd best on the day) also at Hollywood Park. Comma To The Top's presence will have a larger effect on the El Camino Real, where he would be a heavy favorite to win and the big star of the race.
The Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby is one of the marquee races of the Golden Gate Fields meet, and it appears that one of the west coast's biggest three year old in Comma To The Top. As mentioned earlier, his connections have chosen this race as his 2011 debut. This will be the farthest he has ever raced in his career, and his lack of recency could leave him vulnerable. Comma To The Top earned the respect by winning the Real Quiet, G3 Generous and G1 Hollywood Futurity during the Hollywood Park autumn meet. This blog is intrigued by Silver Medallion. This Steve Asmussen-trained son of Badge of Silver won the Eddie Logan Stakes on New Year's Eve at Santa Anita going a mile on the grass. This blog speculated that he might switch to the main after the win, and it appears that he has landed in a good spot. He has a recency edge over the favorite, should have no problem with the distance, and the workout pattern is sharp. His last work was an easy 4 furlongs in 49.40 at Santa Anita on Monday, earning the rare "B" or "Breezing" designation for the work. This means that the horse was under no urging whatsoever during the work (this fact courtesy of the Illman blog). The "B" is rarely given out in SoCal, and it should be noted that Silver Medallion's last work before the Eddie Logan also received a "B". Also running is Positive Response, who has won the two local preps for this race, the Gold Rush Stakes and the California Derby.
Grade 2 Robert B. Lewis Stakes will have a good-looking three year old, even if Comma To The Top decides to head north, in Tapizar. This son of Tapit (right) won the Grade 3 Sham Stakes last month in gate-to-wire fashion, blowing the field off their feet. In the process, he ran more than a second faster than Indian Firewater did in the Grade 2 San Fernando Stakes for four year olds later on the card. This Asmussen charge looks to assert himself once again a strong contender for the Santa Anita Derby with a win. His last work was an easy four furlongs in 49 flat on Monday at Santa Anita, and like his stablemate, he earned a "B" designation. It would not be a derby prep race in Southern California without a Bob Baffert trainee, and he is represented by Wegner. This son of Dynaformer also plies his trade on the front end, as does the multiple graded-stakes placed Riveting Reason. Also in the field is Thirtyfirststreet, who will stretch out for the first time in the race off his win the CA Breeders' Champions Stakes on opening day.
News and Notes
- On Tuesday 2/8, San Pedro Stakes winner Indian Winter worked a bullet 6 furlongs in 1:13 (best of 10 workers) at Santa Anita in preparation for next start, which maybe the Grade 2 San Vicente Stakes next Saturday (2/19).
- Jaycito worked on Monday 2/7 5 furlongs in 59.20 at Santa Anita, the 4th best work of 48.
- Astrology worked for the first time since arriving in Southern California for Steve Asmussen on Saturday 2/5. His first spin a tepid 4 furlongs in 52 seconds. He could be pointed to the San Felipe as well
- Premier Pegasus worked 5 furlongs in 1:01.60 at Santa Anita on Friday 2/4. He also could be pointed to the San Felipe.
- The Factor had his first official work (though he had been galloping long for a few weeks) since his scintillating win on opening day. He went 4 furlongs in an easy 48.2 at Hollywood Park on Tuesday (2/8)
- Lastly, the first open allowance on the dirt for either sex of the meet is set for Friday. It matches up the Baffert trainee Da Ruler (below left) and the Richard Mandella filly Rumor (below right). Rumor is in this race as a means to an end, since all attempts at a N1X for fillies only has failed to fill several times. Both have high ceilings when it comes to their futures, and let's hope that the race proves to be a good one for all parties involved.
The stakes action begins in earnest this weekend, and the picture could become clearer after this weekend's stakes. A future star hopes to solidify his position on top, while the one on top attempts to maintain his position there. Should be some good action all weekend. Good luck everybody!